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Montevideo, July 23rd 2024 - 06:08 UTC



Colombia: Petro signs free college education decree

Sunday, December 31st 2023 - 23:13 UTC
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Despite Petro's decree, some expenses will still be borne by students Despite Petro's decree, some expenses will still be borne by students

After mistakenly claiming that Argentina had expelled some 20,000 Colombian university students, President Gustavo Petro upped the ante and decreed that such studies would henceforth be free in his country.

“I have signed the decree of free public higher education in Colombia,” he posted on X. “It was a campaign promise, and today it is a reality,” he added. “I will seek to make higher education a right for every person living in Colombia,” he also wrote while pledging to make the corresponding budgetary adjustments.

Petro had taken for a done deal Argentine President Javier Milei's bill to Congress whereby non-resident foreigners would be charged for studying at public universities as part of the new rightwing government's austerity measures. The Colombian head of state said on the same social media that “20,000 Colombian students who were being educated free of charge in Argentina“ were being ”literally expelled from that country.“ But even if Milei's bill passes, students would not be expelled, only charged a tuition fee unless they become legal residents.

Petro's new decree, known as ”University in your Territory,” reaches 32 educational institutions nationwide. The document mentions that it will be a gradual process to help young people regardless of their economic status, although priority will be given to those less favored. It also provides for fewer requirements to have access to the new benefits: From the older version granting priority to people based on their age, socioeconomic status, nationality, ethnicity (those with an indigenous or Afro lineage came first), victims of armed conflicts, people with disabilities, female single-parent household heads, and people deprived of their freedom, the new norm only mention that the applicant needs to be registered within the National Higher Education Information System and have a record of good grades, Education Minister Aurora Vergara explained. However, some expenses will still be borne by the student.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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